News from Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation ISSUE 36 | August 2018
| JUNE 2016
Hello & Welcome
ISSUE 36 | August 2018 02
Hello & Welcome
YMAC Regional Committees come together
Historic Yule River meeting unites Pilbara Aboriginal voices
PAV Unites again for change
Wajarri Yamatji Determination
Robe River Kuruma Determination
National Native Title Conference held in Broome
YMAC calls for repeal of Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972
First Nations Governance Forum
YMAC & Nyangumarta Warrarn Rangers office opens in Broome
Walking for acknowledgement, healing and remembrance
Pilbara Solar sponsors Pilbara-Kimberley Forum
NAIDOC Week celebrations
Yaburara Mardudhunera Determination
Ms Natalie Parker, Co-Chair (Pilbara)
Mr Peter Windie, Co-Chair (Yamatji)
Welcome to YMAC News issue 36. In this edition we: •
Acknowledge YMAC’s long-serving Regional Committee Members; Detail the outcomes from the 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River; Celebrate consent determinations for our communities in the Yamatji and Pilbara regions;
Outline YMAC’s submission to the State Government on the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 review;
Congratulate the Yaburara Mardudhunera people on their native title recognition, and much more.
We hope you enjoy reading this issue of YMAC News. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Please send your ideas to email@example.com Cover: Bruce Thomas, Warralong Elder Warning: Aboriginal People are warned that this publication may contain images of deceased people.
For more information about YMAC, and for all the latest news, please visit our website at ymac.org.au
YMAC regional committees come together YMAC’s Annual Joint Regional Committee meeting was held in Exmouth on 9 May 2018 Members of our Yamatji and Pilbara regional committees came together to review the strategic direction and operational performance of YMAC and received additional governance training to develop their leadership capabilities. During the meeting, YMAC acknowledged several committee members for their years of service and dedication including: •
Mrs Doris Eaton - 14 years
Natalie Parker - 14 years
Kathleen Musulin - 10 years
Ben Roberts – Seven years
Cicily Dowden Ryan – Seven years
Richard Oakley - Five years
Rodney Ryan Senior - Five years
Shane Carroll presenting governance training at the Joint Regional Committee Meeting in Exmouth
We congratulate and thank our leaders for their loyalty and hard work on the regional committees.
YMAC Joint Regional Committee members, YMAC staff and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions representatives
Historic Yule River meeting unites Pilbara Aboriginal voices (PAV)
More than 400 Traditional Owners from across the Pilbara attended the 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River
The 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule
government to improve living conditions for Aboriginal
River was another extraordinary gathering bringing
together more than 400 Traditional Owners from across the Pilbara to discuss issues affecting them and their families.
The 2018 meeting was also attended by Federal Senators Pat Dodson and Sue Lines, as well as State Government Minister Alannah MacTiernan (Regional
The meeting endorsed Pilbara Aboriginal Voice,
Development), Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel,
Kakurrka Muri (Karriyarra language for Yule River),
Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Robin
or PAV, the remarkable group borne out of the 4th
Chapple, and Member for Warren Blackwood Terry
meeting in 2017. PAV has made significant progress
Redman (Nationals spokesperson for Aboriginal
working together to address issues including language
preservation, remote housing, the protection of
History of the Yule River meetings
Aboriginal heritage, Constitutional Recognition, health, education, justice and the welfare of children. This year, the group welcomed expressions of interest and was officially endorsed and recognised by both Federal and State Aboriginal Affairs Ministers Ben Wyatt and Senator Nigel Scullion, and others. PAV was acknowledged as an historic union of language groups working as one voice, to call on all levels of
Meetings held at Yule River are historic and have been organised by Aboriginal people in the vast Pilbara region for decades. The dry river bed off the North West Coastal Highway, just south of Port Hedland, is seen as a place where people from different language groups can come together to discuss common issues affecting Aboriginal communities across the region.
Stemming from the actions taken in the lead up
trust business, housing complaints and land rights.
to the 1946 Pilbara Strike, when Aboriginal people
Many important initiatives have been borne from Yule
held secret meetings in remote bush locations to
River meetings, with both concerns and solutions
plan an ambitious three-year walk off by Aboriginal
coming directly from Pilbara Aboriginal people; and
pastoral workers who were living on cattle stations
with government representatives expected to attend
in conditions of virtual slavery, Pilbara Aboriginal
to hear and address their concerns. Through the
people continued in their efforts to advocate for
efforts of then YMAC Co-Chairperson, Mrs Doris Eaton
improved conditions and outcomes by organising
(whose father was a key player in the 1946 Pilbara
bush meetings. During the land rights era, from the
Strike), and the YMAC Pilbara Regional Committee,
late-1970s, Yule River became the focal point for such
the Yule River meetings recommenced in 2014. All
gatherings which were often attended by up to 2,000
language groups from across the region are invited to
Aboriginal people from all over the Pilbara. At this
attend these meetings and share their concerns. Much
time, “Old Man Parker” (born Herbert), was the Pilbara
like they were decades ago, gatherings at Yule River
representative for the National Aboriginal Consultative
are an important opportunity for a diverse range of
Committee, the first national body elected by
Aboriginal voices to be heard.
Aboriginal people, and introduced by the Whitlam Government. Mr Parker presided over these meetings on the river’s sandy banks as Aboriginal people from all over the Pilbara region gathered to talk about lands
See the highlights video from the 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River at ymac.org.au
Njamal Elders Tina Taylor (left) and Mrs Doris Eaton (far right), Deputy Co-Chair and Director, YMAC, with Pilbara lawman David ‘Yandi’ Stock (centre)
PAV unites again for change More than 20 Aboriginal people from different
PAV which has been formed by Aboriginal people, for
language groups across the Pilbara came together
Aboriginal people, at Yule River meetings,” Mr Brown
in South Hedland over two days in August as part of
Pilbara Aboriginal Voice, Kakurrka Muri (Karriyarra language for Yule River), or PAV.
Ms Doogiebee said PAV was calling on the State Government, whose Ministers were in town for
PAV Co-Chairs Danny Brown and Linda Doogiebee said
regional cabinet meetings, to provide ongoing funding
PAV represented the strongest and most unified group
for the group to make meaningful change in the region.
of Aboriginal people to form to call for change in the region since the 1946 Pilbara strikes. “A number of groups that have formed in the Pilbara
“Despite our differences in language and land, we must work together if we are to improve the lives of Aboriginal people in the Pilbara,” she said.
over recent decades have unfortunately failed, unlike
Members of PAV at the meetung in South Hedland (PAV Co-Chair Linda Doogiebee seated front row far left), centre is Elder and PAV cultural authority Mrs Doris Eaton; (back row) furthest left, YMAC Pilbara Regional Manager Donny Wilson and YMAC CEO Simon Hawkins
Wajarri Yamatji Determination The Wajarri Yamatji community celebrated
National Heritage List in 2011 in recognition of its
recognition of its second determination of native title
outstanding heritage value.
(called the Part B Determination) by the Federal Court of Australia in Perth on 23 April 2018.
This determination follows the Part A Determination that was made by the Federal Court in October 2017
Federal Court Judge Justice John Griffiths made
over approximately 68,743 square kilometres of land
the consent determination which recognised native
title over an area of approximately 12,252 square kilometres of land and waters in the Murchison and Gascoyne regions. The determination covers unallocated Crown land, Aboriginal-held pastoral leases and a number of Aboriginal reserves and communities. Exclusive possession of native title is recognised over an area of approximately 9,100 square kilometres. The Part B Determination encompasses the Aboriginal communities of Burringurrah, Pia Wadjari and Buttah Windee. It also includes Wilgie Mia, located in the Weld Range near Cue, the largest and deepest Aboriginal
The Wajarri Yamatji Working Group said it was an important day for the Wajarri people. “It recognises our rights (including our exclusive rights) in our barna (Country) that has existed since long before European colonisation. “We have always known where we come from, but this determination means that our connection to our land is recognised under Australian law. “On this day, we’d like to pay our respects to Wajarri elders past and present for their tireless work in achieving this native title determination.”
ochre mine in Australia which was added to the
Wajarri Yamatji native title holders celebrate their native title determination with Justice Griffiths (far right)
Robe River Kuruma Determination
Robe River Kuruma native title holders celebrate native title recognition with Justice Rangiah (seated third from left)
On Thursday 26 April 2018, the Robe River Kuruma community celebrated recognition of its second determination of native title (Part B Determination) at a Federal Court Hearing held on-Country at Pannawonica Hill. The celebration was facilitated by YMAC as the Native Title Representative Body for the Pilbara Region, and Kuruma Marthudunera Aboriginal Corporation (KMAC), the Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC). The Part B Determination area covers approximately 5,720 square kilometres within the Shire of Ashburton and includes the middle Robe, the Bungaroo Valley and the Buckland Ranges. The first determination of native title, known as the Part A Determination, was made by the Federal Court in November 2016 and covers approximately 4,109 square kilometres of land. The Part B Determination means the Robe River Kuruma people’s own system of laws and customs in relation to land, and ownership of land are recognised by Australian law. As a result of this historic outcome, the Robe River Kuruma people will continue to be consulted about developments on their land. Justice Rangiah told the gathering the Federal Court of Australia was recognising what they have always known to be true – that they are the owners of the land. Sara Slattery, Traditional Owner and Chair of Kuruma Marthudunera Aboriginal Corporation, said it was a beautiful day for Kuruma people. “A long time coming - over 26 years,” Ms Slattery said. “A big thank you to our people who have passed, it’s because of them that we’re here today celebrating native title recognition.”
National Native Title Conference held in Broome The 2018 National Native Title Conference was
He explained how the evolving working relationship
convened by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal
between Traditional Owners and native title
and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the
representative bodies creates opportunities to
Kimberley Land Council (KLC) and hosted by the
collaborate in new and diverse ways.
Yawuru people on their traditional lands in Broome.
Donny’s presentation celebrated the Annual
Titled Many Laws, One Land: legal and political
On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River as a way
co-existence, the conference was a forum on
of relating law and culture to government policy.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land owner experiences of navigating intersecting systems of law, and promoted new ideas for how native title holders, practitioners and the broader Australian public can work together to further leverage native title rights. Donny Wilson, YMAC’s Pilbara Regional Manager, presented at the conference on the approach that YMAC takes to support Traditional Owner decisionmaking processes through legitimate, properly authorised forums and group meetings.
Mr Wilson said since the introduction of Native Title, Aboriginal people have had to focus on their own families creating more boundaries. “Yule River is bringing families back together, getting the old people involved again.” Mr Wilson said. Yule River is where both indigenous and non-indigenous people can witness that a strong law and culture still exists, and it is still very meaningful and important.”
Mr Donny Wilson, Pilbara Regional Manager, YMAC presenting at the National Native Title Conference in Broome
YMAC calls for repeal of Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 As part of the State Government’s review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (AHA), YMAC has made a submission recommending the Act be repealed and replaced in its entirety to ensure a cogent statute is introduced consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous People (UNDRIP), the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA), and the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (RDA) all of which post-date the AHA. Westerm Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Wyatt said the three-phase review is aimed at modernising the legislation to be respectful of Aboriginal people, and to ensure their heritage is recognised, protected and celebrated by all West Australians. The Minister aims to have the amended legislation passed by both houses of Parliament by the end of 2020. YMAC’s responses to the specific questions raised in the Phase 1: “Review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 Consultation Paper – March 2018” were presented as a submission to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage on 30 May 2018. In summary, YMAC stated that the AHA reform must: 1. Formally recognise that Aboriginal heritage belongs to Aboriginal people. 2. Align land rights and interests under native title law with the heritage protection regime. 3. Ensure Aboriginal people have a role in surveys, consultation, reporting, decision-making and protection of their cultural heritage. 4. Implement standards, criteria and procedures for identifying and evaluating heritage, and assessing the merits of issuing permits. 5. Make the system of administration and governance transparent, including the reporting and penalising of project proponents that cause a breach of the AHA. YMAC’s position is consistent with the statement made by the WA Alliance of Native Title Representative Bodies and Native Title Service Providers. YMAC is awaiting the outcome of the Phase 1 consultation, and will take part in the Phase 2 consultation when the opportunity arises.
Our full submission, and all YMAC submissions, are available on our website at ymac.org.au
First Nations Governance Forum YMAC Co-Chair Peter Windie attended the Australian
YMAC has officially supported the Uluru Statement
National University’s First Nations Governance Forum
from the Heart and actively participated in its
held in Canberra on 2, 3 and 4 July with some of the
world’s leading experts in constitutional reform and
Co-Chairs and Directors participated in the Regional
Dialogue held in Perth in March 2017, and Mr Windie
The forum is a response to all that has come before
attended the National Convention at Uluru and signed
it, but particularly the delivery of the ‘Uluru Statement
the Statement on Behalf of YMAC.
from the Heart’ last year, by the Referendum Council’s
The Statement was presented and endorsed at the 4th
National Convention, and the Federal Government’s
Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River in 2017.
dismissal of the proposal for a Voice to Parliament.
For more information on the ANU First Nations
Hosted by the ANU Council and Aboriginal
Governance sessions visit:
parliamentarians: Hon Ken Wyatt MP; Hon Linda
Burney MP; Senator Malarndirri McCarthy; and Senator
Pat Dodson, the forum considered where we go from here, and was attended by First Nations leaders from Norway, Canada, USA, Sweden and New Zealand who shared their practical experience serving in leadership
For more information about YMAC, and for all the
positions in their homeland parliaments.
latest news, visit ymac.org.au
Hon. Ken Wyatt with Mr Peter Windie (Co-Chair Yamatji Region, Director, YMAC) at the First Nations Governance Forum (source: Twitter)
Constitutional Recognition A Public Hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples was held in Perth on Friday 6 July 2018. Although YMAC was not invited to present a statement, a letter was submitted to be read out for consideration in the Committee’s report. It outlined YMAC’s official support of the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ and commitment to working with local, regional and national partners to build support for the proposal at the political level, and among all Australian people. We acknowledge ‘Uphold & Recognise’, a non-profit organisation committed to its charter for upholding the Australian Constitution and recognising Indigenous Australians. We consider their work a logical next step in the process to resolve technical issues associated with Constitutional Recognition. Our submission can be viewed on our website at www.ymac.org.au. The Uluru Statement from the Heart set out three proposals: •
A Voice to Parliament: That a referendum be held to provide in the Australian Constitution for a representative body that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations a Voice to the Commonwealth Parliament. A key function of the body should include monitoring the use of the heads of power in section 51 (xxvi) and section 122 of the Constitution. The body will recognise the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia.
Declaration of Recognition: A Declaration of Recognition should be developed, containing inspiring and unifying words articulating Australia’s shared history, heritage and aspirations. The Declaration should bring together the three parts of our Australian story: our ancient First Peoples’ heritage and culture, our British institutions, and our multicultural unity.
Makarrata Commission: The Uluru Statement called for the establishment of a Makarrata Commission with the function of supervising agreement-making and facilitating a process of local and regional truth telling.
Uluru Statement from the Heart, with signatures from attendees at the 2017 Yule River meeting
YMAC & Nyangumarta Warrarn Rangers office opens in Broome
Hon Minister for Environment, Stephen Dawson MLC, Senior Cultural Advisor, Nyaparu Rose and Hon Treasurer, Minister for Finance, Aboriginal Affairs, Ben Wyatt MLA with the Nyangumarta Warrarn Rangers
It was a strong turnout at the official opening of the Nyangumarta Warrarn Rangers and Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) office in Broome in May with more than 50 people attending.
passed down to future generations. “Without government funding the program would not be sustainable and I am pleased to say that as part of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), YMAC
The Rangers provided information about activities
has successfully secured funding from the Federal
undertaken under the successful Nyangumarta
Government for the Nyangumarta Ranger Program,”
Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) land and sea
Mr Hawkins said.
Minister Wyatt acknowledged the Nyangumarta
Ben Wyatt, State Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and
Warrarn Ranger Program as an excellent example of
Stephen Dawson, State Minister for Environment, were
how the Aboriginal rangers can deliver social, cultural
also in attendance and spoke with rangers and invited
and economic benefits.
“The Nyangumarta rangers do an amazing job of
Yawaru’s Jimmy Edgar welcomed guests to Country,
managing their Country, and help to make it relevant
while Senior Cultural Advisor, Nyaparu Rose, spoke
and meaningful to the broader Western Australian
about the program’s history and significance.
community,” Mr Wyatt said.
YMAC Chief Executive Simon Hawkins welcomed
Ms Rose said the program had not only generated
Federal and State Government support of Indigenous
employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, but
Ranger Programs so that knowledge could be used to
created a sense of community in working together to
manage and care for natural and cultural assets, and
care for Country.
“That’s why continued support from the government is important to ensure this program continues to reach its full potential,” Ms Rose said. Since the Nyangumarta IPA dedication in July 2015, the program has grown significantly. In May this year, Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, announced a three-year funding extension for Indigenous Rangers from 1 July 2018 until 30 June 2021. This contract extension for the IPA will provide a level of longer-term security for the Nyangumarta Rangers to continue their activities including feral animal control, fire management, fauna and flora monitoring, cultural
Nyangumarta IPA and Ranger Program • The Nyangumarta IPA covers about 28,420 square kilometres including the joint management and protection of a section of Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park and Walyarta Conservation Park–one of the most important sites for migratory shorebirds in Australia • 17 rangers employed in casual, part and full-time positions • Three part-time school based trainees • 14 elders employed on a casual basis as cultural advisors
heritage protection and tourism.
Nyangumarta Rangers attending the Broome office opening event
L-R: Shire of Carnarvon acting CEO Mark Dacombe, with Kathleen Musulin and Bob Dorey
Walking for acknowledgement, healing and remembrance On 27 April more than 25 people participated in the CroakeyGo walk of acknowledgement and remembrance on Yinggarda country in Carnarvon. They followed the trail where Aboriginal people were forcibly taken en route to the lock hospitals of Bernier and Dorre Islands (1908-1919). Between 1908 and 1919, several hundred Aboriginal people from across Western Australia were forcibly removed from their families and Country and taken to the lock hospitals via Carnarvon. Many family members who were separated during the lock hospital scheme never saw each other again. It is conservatively estimated that more than 200 people died on the islands. The prisoner patients were said to have the non-specific diagnosis of â€œvenereal diseaseâ€?, although many questions have been raised about the reliability of this diagnosis. These lock hospitals were part of a wider history of racially-based medical incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in WA, the Northern Territory, and Queensland, that took place for almost a century from the late 1800s. In WA, the Aborigines Act of 1905 provided the legislative architecture for the lock hospital scheme. The people removed for medical incarceration were often made to travel long distances in chains, including neck chains. In 1910-1911, it took three months for a group of people captured near Sandstone, in the Stateâ€™s Mid West, to make the traumatic journey in chains to Carnarvon en route to Bernier Island. The Lock Hospital CroakeyGo walk brings the community together to ensure greater awareness and understanding of this tragic history.
Pilbara Solar sponsors PilbaraKimberley Forum In May 2018 Pilbara Solar was a major sponsor of the Pilbara Kimberley Forum hosted by the Pilbara Regional Council. Pilbara Solar is a 25 per cent Aboriginal-owned renewable energy development company developing commercial projects with an equity position for Traditional Owners. It strives for sustainable economic development that benefits Traditional Owners, business, government and the community, with a low carbon footprint and high Corporate Social Responsibility. The Forum was an opportunity for key government, business, and community leaders to develop joint advocacy initiatives for the development of north-western Australia. Pilbara Solar Directors presented on the First Nations and More Energy panels promoting the business model consistent with the aspirations of Aboriginal communities to have equity ownership of infrastructure projects. A Recommendations Paper from the event was delivered to key decision-makers including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and WA
Mrs Raylene Button, Kariyarra woman and Director of Pilbara Solar, presenting at the First Nations panel during the Pilbara-Kimberley Forum
Premier Mark McGowan. The paper notes the importance of engaging Aboriginal people in the development of business in the region.
NAIDOC celebrations at the Bundiyarra Family Day, Geraldton
NAIDOC Week Celebrations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have and continue to play active and significant roles at community, local, State and national levels. Under the theme - Because of Her, We Can! - NAIDOC Week 2018 was held nationally from Sunday 8 July through to Sunday 15 July. YMAC’s Geraldton staff held their annual stall at the Bundiyarra Family Day on 11 July. The event was opened with a moving Welcome to Country by Minangu (Donna Ronan) and her son Gura Gula “fire in the eyes”. The NAIDOC theme of ‘Because of Her, We Can’, received an emotional response on the day with heartfelt poetry readings by local poet Nola Gregory. Families attending the event enjoyed a traditional bush tucker lunch cooked in camp ovens in the coals, live music and kids activities. YMAC’s Geraldton Regional Manager, Chris Dann also attended the NAIDOC dawn service where YMAC presented a wreath in remembrance of our service men and women, and YMAC staff and members attended a morning tea with staff at the Department of Communities and Housing. In the Pilbara, YMAC welcomed the Hedland Aboriginal Strong Leaders (HASL) to present the 2018 Port Hedland NAIDOC Awards at the 5th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River. Raylene Button, HASL Co-chair, thanked the Julyardi Aboriginal Corporation and Pilbara Development Commission for their support, with 15 awards presented including Elders of the Year, Artists of the Year and Reconciliation awards.
Yaburara Mardudhunera Determination
Yaburara Mardudhunera native title holders celebrate native title recognition on tbe banks of the Fortescue River
YMAC congratulates the Mardudhunera people on their determination of native title made 27 July by the Federal Court. More than one hundred people gathered on the banks of the Fortescue River to welcome the determination by Justice Michael Barker. Justice Barker announced recognition by the laws of Australia of the laws, customs and native title belonging to the Yaburara Mardudhunera people over 9,130 square kilometres of land and waters in the Pilbara region after a 22-year campaign. While YMAC acted for the Kuruma Marthudunera people in this matter, it was good to see that a satisfactory resolution was able to be achieved so that all Mardudhunera people can be recognised as native title holders and work together to care for country. YMAC offers them hearty congratulations.
NEWS FROM | YAMATJI MARLPA ABORIGINAL CORPORATION
Country, Culture, People, Future About us YMAC News is produced by the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) We are the native title representative body for native title claims in the Murchison, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions of Western Australia. We work with Yamatji and Marlpa (Pilbara) Aboriginal people to pursue: • Recognition and acceptance of Yamatji and Marlpa culture in Country; and • A strong future for Yamatji and Marlpa people and Country
Contact us: Send your questions, ideas, letters and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org Geraldton
171 Marine Tce, Geraldton WA 6530
Level 8, 12-14 The Esplanade, Perth WA 6000
2/29 Steel Loop, Wedgefield WA 6721
Lot 640 Dora Street Broome WA 6725
PO Box 2119, Geraldton WA 6531
PO Box 3072, 249 Hay Street, Perth WA 6892
PO Box 2252, South hedland WA 6722
T (08) 9965 6222 F (08) 9964 5646
T (08) 9268 7000 F (08) 9225 4633
T (08) 9160 3800 F (08) 9140 1277
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YMAC News Issue 36